Traits to Look for When Hiring Your Startups Leadership Team

22 Mar, 2016 / Comments: Comments Off on Traits to Look for When Hiring Your Startups Leadership Team / By

Ask any founder of a startup and they’ll tell you that the success of their company primarily relies on putting together a rock solid leadership team to stand behind them. To give your startup the best chance of achieving greatness, you must have people behind you whom you can fully rely on and who believe in your mission. When just getting started, a strong leadership team is the building blocks to your startup’s success, but how exactly do you pick the right people to be on your staff? Let’s look at a few key traits to search for when hiring your leadership team. Here are five traits that every one of your leadership team members should have to ensure your startup’s success.


A Passion for Your Cause

It is important for your leadership team to love what they do so that they come to work enthusiastic to jump in and get started on their daily tasks. Look for people who are passionate about what your startup does so that you can cultivate a happy and productive workspace. Doing so will allow you to create a strong company culture led by a team of people who come to work motivated to do their best every single day. When your entire leadership team is working to meet the same goal with the same level of excitement for the end result, there is no limit to what your startup can achieve.


A High Level of Integrity

Look for those people who are both honest and who keep their word. You must be able to trust your leadership team and not worry that they will exploit your startup’s resources for their personal gain. It is best to look at a candidate’s track record at their previous job to find those who have a high level of integrity. Additionally, asking for references and contacting their former employers will give you a more well-rounded idea of potential team members’ integrity levels.


Outstanding Problem-Solving Skills

An excellent way to ensure you have a well-rounded leadership team is to look for those who have functional skills related to your startup, as well as the ability to problem-solve and adapt. Due to the fact the members of your leadership team play an essential role in your startup’s growth, it is critical that you do not just look at their functional skills, but their problem-solving ones as well. The often chaotic nature of startups requires that your team be able to fill the holes and think on their feet whenever necessary.


A Certain Level of Audacity

Your mission is to hire people that are more cutting-edge and essentially smarter than you. To do this, they must have a track record of successful risk-taking and are willing to experiment. Keep in mind that leaders are not born, but are instead made through experience and hard work. Your startup will only be able to succeed with true leaders backing it. Looking for those who are willing to take calculated risks will be powerful in your startup’s ability to move mountains.


Ability to Get Along with Others

As a startup, in all likelihood, your team will be working very closely together every day. This means that your developers need to have a good working relationship with your designers, your psychometrics team needs to get along with your marketers, etc. It is recommended that you have all your candidates meet every one of your employees so that you can see how they will interact with one another to ensure that everyone on your team gets along. If you can foster a leadership team that isn’t just able to co-exist but actually feels like a friend group who are working together to achieve a common goal, then your startup will be all the better for it. Ensuring that your leadership team meshes well together will mean all the difference when it comes time to put them to work to ensure that you beat out the competition.


William Mahnic
William Mahnic is a Finance Professor at Case Western University and has spent more than 20 years in the finance industry before becoming a professor. Mahnic has appeared as a commentator on both TV and radio talk shows including NPR, Crain's Cleveland Business, WKYC 3 and The Washington Post. He has been interviewed in BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times.

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